After praising Tony Blair yesterday, I came across this article in Unherd.com (click full article) calling for him to brought back, and thinking about it, that’s not a bad idea. Even his detractors would agree that Blair was a decisive leader in a crisis, including the Foot and Mouth crisis, the death of Princess Diana, the negotiations leading to the Good Friday agreement, and the Iraq war. Unfortunately, Blair’s Iraq war legacy has damned him forever, but nevertheless, his views on this matter are valid and his suggestions should be heeded.
The next few weeks of this year are going to be bleak, worse than April last year, and the most traumatic time the country has faced since the Second World War. But the good news is: Tony Blair is back. On the subject of vaccination, he first suggested delaying the second dose so that we can offer more immediate protection to twice as many people. Now he has accused the Government of acting too slow, arguing that we need to aim towards five million doses a week.
As you get older, the politicians of your youth seem to possess more gravitas and greatness than the people currently running the country, and in Blair’s case, it certainly feels like he would do a more effective job than the current lot. Surgeons often say that it is better to take the wrong course of action than to do nothing because the worst thing is to dither and wait for a problem to turn into a crisis, and for the bleeding to become uncontrollable.
That has repeatedly been the case with the current Government. Inactive about Christmas until forced to act at the last moment; inactive about schools until forced to act at the last moment; now, with the vaccine programme, they are reluctantly and tardily doing the inevitable and calling in the military — from next Monday! Because what’s the rush?
Only Blair seems to appreciate that this is now a wartime emergency, the biggest single crisis we have faced since 1945, and all the Government’s energy now needs to be directed at speeding up the vaccination programme — our only way out of this disaster. Throughout the entire crisis, Boris Johnson has lacked the strength to lead his party, and rule over the numerous MPs who seemed to treat covid-19 like just another seasonal flu. His desire to please both sides has ensured enfeebled rule when strong leadership was needed most of all.
Even those who never voted for Blair have no doubt that he would do a better job than the current occupier of Number 10. The tragedy of Blair’s rule was that he was elected too young, when with his leadership skills he would have made a far better prime minister with a bit more experience and less naivety. Indeed, he’s only 67 now, just a tiny bit older than Churchill was called for to lead his country in the dark days of 1940.
I would suggest Tony Blair be appointed to the role of vaccine tsar responsible for the vaccine programme roll-out rather than Nadhim Zahawi , who has been temporarily appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Health Department for that role. Obviously, there is little or no chance of that happening, and I suspect the programme will be another government fiasco. Lets hope I’m wrong but time will tell.